In a private ceremony with the fallen officer’s family and fellow members of the department, New Castle Police have posthumously promoted Sergeant Joseph Szczerba to the rank of Lieutenant.
During the Wednesday night ceremony, New Castle County Police Chief Colonel Michael McGowan said Lieutenant Szczerba “aspired to this rank and worked hard to prepare for the promotional process.”
In addition to being promoted, Szczerba was also awarded the Medal of Honor, the county department’s highest award. It’s the first time the award has been given out in the 98-year history of the New Castle County Police. McGowan said the Medal of Honor is awarded to officers who “in the line of duty, intelligently and aware of the risks, distinguish themselves by performance of a conspicuous act of courage…that results in serious physical injury or death to the member.”
Szczerba’s sergeant and lieutenant badge numbers (28 and 6, respectfully) will be retired.
The promotion means that now-Lieutenant Szczerba will be buried in his lieutenant’s dress uniform when he is laid to rest tomorrow following a public viewing at the Chase Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington.